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Dignity for Disability - Working for Australians with Disabilities

  • Published: 2011-09-29 : Author: Wendy Taormina-Weiss
  • Synopsis: Dignity for Disability is an Australian political party for people who believe in a fair go for everyone.

Main Document

Dignity for Disability is an Australian political party for people who believe in a fair go for everyone.

The party is human rights based and is organized to ensure representation in Parliament for people who experience forms of disabilities in particular. The party, referred to as, 'D4D,' supports everyone who believes the government's neglect of the current social crisis in Australia regarding people with disabilities is wrong. The organization supports those who are fed up with waste of taxpayer dollars and who have a dislike of what D4D describes as the current, 'apartheid,' system in Australia and desire reform. D4D believes the two major parties in Australia do not really represent the interests and voice of everyday citizens and supports others who believe the same.

Dignity for Disability is a not-for-profit organization; it has no paid staff members and is run totally through volunteer efforts. The volunteers at D4D give their time, commitment, and efforts with great dedication. The organization is dependent on the efforts of these dedicated volunteers in order to be successful. D4D believes that people with disabilities should have the same choices and opportunities as non-disabled members of society, as well as the opportunity to improve the quality of their lives. The organization believes people with disabilities should be respected and included as equal members of Australian society. It is important to note that one in every five Australians has a form of disability.

The History of Dignity for Disability

Image of Kelly Vincent, D4D memberDignity for Disability was created in the year 2004 in South Australia by a group of parents who were led by David Holst. The driving force behind the creation of D4D was a lack of disability services, as well as a lack of post-school options for children with disabilities. The main agenda of D4D was to lobby the Australian government and other political groups with the intention of increasing the level of funding for people in the disability sector. The organization became politically motivated and started raising the awareness levels in regards to the increasing number of issues facing people with disabilities in Australia. D4D also began providing a voice of empowerment for people with disabilities, as well as a resource center for a number of other disability organizations and groups.

The year 2009 found both Rick Neagle and Doctor Paul Collier reigniting D4D. Rick and Paul made the decision to focus the organization's efforts on human rights as established through the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), as well as to expand Dignity for Disability's efforts to be more inclusive through inclusion of Mental Health in its remit. In order to reflect these changes, as well as the influx of a number of new and committed members - seven of whom were nominating for election, a change in the name of the organization was also invoked. The organization became known as, 'Dignity for Disability,' along with a new mantra of, 'Dignity Through Choice,' with the intention of reflecting its forward progress.

Doctor Paul Collier

Image of Dr. Collier and kidsDignity for Disability is greatly indebted to the vision, determination, courage, and leadership of Doctor Paul Collier, who has made exceptional efforts into building D4D into the organization it is today. Paul was not only a leader for the organization, he was a friend to many. Dr. Collier was both an author and a historian, as well as a fighter pilot. Paul experienced a motor vehicle accident during which he suffered a major spinal cord injury. Dr. Collier's passion to experience life to its fullest was always his key to success. Challenges in life aside, Dr. Collier traveled a great deal, living in England for a number of years. He also completed his Ph.D. At the University of Oxford.

Paul had a strong passion about creating a society in which everyone is valued equally and respected; one in which everyone has the chance to achieve their individual passions. The frustrations he experienced in regards to needless bureaucracy and unnecessarily controlling systems and additional barriers people with disabilities have to deal with are shared by many people in South Australia. Paul woke up each day, made tremendous efforts, took risks - all for the benefit of others. He was an endless supporter of Self-Managed Funding using a model similar to the one used in the United Kingdom. Paul consistently campaigned for better access to everything life has to offer for people with disabilities.

Dr. Collier was active leader in a number of Federal organizations, to include Arts Access Australia, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Advisory Council, and the National Disability Advisory Council. He also served in several community organizations. Paul loved a challenge, he skydived from 3000m. He was a candidate for the Legislative Council in the 2006 South Australian State Election as well as in the year 2010 with the Dignity for Disability Party.

Paul never let his disability or his wheelchair slow him down. His talents, sense of humor, and stubborn yet friendly nature found him to be one of South Australia's most respected Disability Advocates, and a wonderful friend to many people. Dr. Paul Collier's positive attitude, determination, and very life showed that barriers can simply make a person reach for higher and greater goals.

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